Several years ago, Jeep ran a dumb ad on Super Bowl Sunday showing a truck running up the middle of a creek. My then 8-year-old son asked, “Isn’t that bad for the stream?”
Earlier this year, Ford pulled the same stunt. And now, Nissan. Its 2022 Frontier has been breaking into the baseball playoffs to barrel through streams.
Trout Unlimited invests tens of millions of dollars every year to care for and recover our rivers and streams. Our efforts to protect headwater streams also serve to reduce downstream drinking water filtration costs. When we reconnect rivers to their floodplains, we help diminish the effects of devastating flooding. When we restore rivers and streams, we are creating high paying family wage jobs in rural communities across America.
We are all about cold, clean, fishable water. Layer climate change on top of logging, mining, and other development, and you can begin to understand why seeing a pickup joyriding in a stream gets me a little worked up.
I am certain that these truck companies pay a lot of money to Madison Avenue advertising firms. But it is time for Madison Avenue to knock it off. No serious sportsman or woman would ever advocate running a truck up the middle of a creek.
So last week, I reached out to Nissan with an idea.
Flip the script: Instead of showing people using their trucks to tear through fish habitat, why not show them using them to do something productive—like fixing fish habitat.
“TU members and supporters are doers,” I wrote to Nissan. “We get our hands dirty through the hard work of fixing rivers. We work to undo the decades of damage to our streams—from logging and mining and drilling, from dams and development. We work to make our rivers and communities more resilient to a future that will bring more flooding, drought, more intense wildfires.
“It is important work—taking down dams; reconnecting rivers to their floodplains; planting trees along creeks; installing boulders and large wood to reconstruct damaged fish habitat.
“Ditch the advice of the fast-talking guys in expensive suits that glorify people tearing up the places we love to fish, hunt, and recreate. Instead, show the good work of caring for and recovering our lands and waters. The people who buy your trucks want to know how to pass their love for the outdoors to their kids and grandkids, not ruin it for everyone.”
That’s the sort of story the world’s truck manufacturers should be telling.
We’re waiting to hear back.